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Reader’s Forum — Rulings on beer are nuanced

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The county did not approve craft breweries. The city just held a referendum on “on-premises sale of malt beverages” (beer). The words “craft brewery” did not appear on the ballot. The county has never held such a referendum. I object to your fuzziness in reporting that the county did something…

OUR VIEW — Beer referendum passage is positive

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City of Lincolnton voters approved a referendum on Tuesday that has paved the way for a craft brewery or standalone beer bar to open in the city. That’s a good thing for the city’s future, and now it’s up to city leaders to capitalize on the vote and help guide…

State tax burden has declined

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist So far this year, we’ve had three state budget plans submitted by the three main actors in the drama: Gov. Pat McCrory, the North Carolina House, and the North Carolina Senate. While important differences remain to be settled between the two chambers, I’m struck by the…

Putting Trump aside; Remembering Ali and Patt Derian

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D.G. MARTIN Syndicated Columnist The death of Muhammad Ali last week took away Donald Trump’s monopoly of television news coverage, at least for a time. There was some irony, of course, as the “I am the greatest” clips from Ali replaced similar campaign assertions by Trump. Ali and Trump are…

Politics and perception doomed tuition bill

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist The recent firestorm over steep reductions in tuition proposed at five universities – including three historically black ones – illustrates much of what is wrong with North Carolina politics. We had questionable process from Senate Republicans on what was sure to be a highly controversial proposal.…

OUR VIEW — Let campuses be a home for free speech

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There was a time when universities were known as bastions of free speech and the free, unfettered exchange of ideas. Depending upon whom you talk to, that distinction might remain true. But the sad reality is that institutions of higher education are now too often responsible for stifling free speech…

Ten reasons for late-night budget releases

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PATRICK GANNON Guest Columnist Oops, they did it again. Senate Republican leaders released their $22.2 billion budget for 2016-17 to the public through the General Assembly website at 11:52 p.m. on a recent Tuesday, about nine hours before its initial consideration by senators on the Appropriations Committee. Two days and…

State pollsters earn good grades

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist North Carolina has one of the most-polled electorates in the United States. As we head into a general election full of highly competitive races for governor, senator, president, and other offices, those of us who closely follow politics in the Tar Heel State will again appreciate…

Obama’s misguided reversal on Social Security expansion

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CHARLES HUGHES Guest Columnist In a speech this week, President Barack Obama called for an expansion of Social Security, saying “it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits.” Obama was undoubtedly influenced to some degree by the developments in the Democratic primary, where both Bernie…

Expect an eventful June on Jones Street

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist RALEIGH – For the first three weeks of this legislative session, the House and Senate puttered along. The House worked on its budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, while the Senate considered few bills of note. Speculation arose that the General Assembly might just pass a…